"The day that some officious country club Republican in Fort Walton Beach tells me what I can and cannot say in public will be the day that hell freezes over."
The Okaloosa Republican Executive Committee has "uninvited" former Trump advisor Roger Stone from its annual dinner, following his publication of disparaging comments about former first lady Barbara Bush.
Among other remarks, Stone called Bush — who died Tuesday — a "nasty drunk."
He also said she "drank so much booze, if they cremated her ... her body would burn for three days," according to national news accounts.
Stone had been the touted keynote speaker for OREC's May 12 Lincoln Reagan Day Dinner. Committee chairman Mark Franks said in a prepared statement that the organization takes "strong objection" to the comments and has "ended our contract."
"It's tough to lose a speaker when you're three weeks out, but this is what I felt needed to be done out of respect for Barbara Bush," Franks said. "I thought he'd be entertaining but for me this went over the line."
Stone, when reached by email, said he was the one who ended the contract.
"I cancelled my appearance as the sponsors wanted to censor my public comments, which is unacceptable," he said in the email.
"The day that some officious country club Republican in Fort Walton Beach tells me what I can and cannot say in public will be the day that hell freezes over," he concluded.
In a Thursday morning email exchange between Stone and a committee member, Stone said that if they didn't like what he said it was "tough (expletive)." He added that "most Americans, most Republicans HATE the Bushes."
Franks said that Stone's manager has been gracious and understanding, and they will not have to pay Stone.
The dinner, which will take place at The Ramada Plaza on Okaloosa Island, also features Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran and U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz. Franks said that if they were willing, both of their speaking roles could be expanded to fill the keynote speaker gap.
At least one committee member was relieved that Stone would not be speaking. Okaloosa County Commission Chairman Graham Fountain said he knew Barbara Bush personally and was deeply offended by Stone's remarks.
"They asked me to emcee the event, and I was little bit concerned about Roger Stone, period, because he's very controversial," Fountain said. "But when I saw what he was saying about Mrs. Barbara Bush ... I told them if Roger Stone was going to talk about the first lady like that, I would not be emceeing it, nor would I attend."